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Seven Things Wrong – With Denominational Baptism


The word “baptism” with its various inflections occurs 126 times in the New Testament. Hence, one has to say a good deal about baptism or neglect a large portion of the Bible. So far as we know, all denominations except the Christian Scientists and the Quakers practice some rite that they call baptism.

Most people, therefore, have submitted to some ordinance that was called baptism. When these people learn about the New Testament church, they often want to come into the church on their denominational baptism. But if something is wrong with denominational baptism, and we think there is, these people plainly need to be told about it. Therefore, we shall attempt to plainly tell each of you (rather you be Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, Lutheran, Community, etc.) seven things wrong with denominational baptism.

It has the wrong authority (Matthew 28:18 (NIV)  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Colossians 3:17 (NIV)  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Denominational councils and creeds authorize denominational baptism. Jesus never authorized it, nor did he ever command anyone to be baptized into any denomination.

It usually has the wrong subject. Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV) Mt 19 (NIV)  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Mark 16:15-16 (NIV) Mk 15 (NIV)  He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 2:38 (NIV)  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible teaches that the taught penitent believer who confesses his faith is the only proper subject of scriptural baptism. But denominations often sprinkle infants who cannot meet the above requirements. Denominations also baptize people who think they are already saved rather than persons who desire to be saved (1 Pet. 3:21).

It has the wrong confession. Persons in the New Testament confessed their faith in Christ as the only confessional requisite for baptism. But lost souls desiring to undergo denominational baptism will be asked to confess agreement with the sectarian creed. One denomination that we know requires a confession consisting of twenty propositions. More common is the unscriptural confession wherein one states that he “believes that God for Christ’s sake has pardoned his sins.” Many who now question their denominational baptism have not the faintest remembrance of what they confessed.

It usually has the wrong action. Romans 6:3-4 (NIV) Ro 3 (NIV)  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Colossians 2:12 (NIV)  having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

 Scriptural baptism entails “much water” (John 3:23 ), and a coming unto, a “going down into,” and a “coming up out of the water.” In scriptural baptism, one is immersed or “buried” (Rom. 6:3-4) in the water. Neither sprinkling nor pouring meets these scriptural requirements.

It has the wrong purpose. Acts 2:38 (NIV)  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Mark 16:16 (NIV)  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 22:16 (NIV)  And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

1 Peter 3:21 (NIV)  and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

These passages teach baptism to be “for the remission of sins,” to be “saved,” to have one’s sins “washed away.”

Denominations usually assert they are baptizing one into that particular denomination rather than into Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:26-27 (NIV) Gal 26 (NIV)  You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27  for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Romans 6:3-4 (NIV) Ro 3 (NIV)  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

So even though one has been immersed, if he was not immersed for the scriptural purpose, that person’s baptism was wrong.

Most sectarians teach that one is baptized to SHOW that he HAS BEEN saved rather than in order to be saved. Were you so baptized? Did you think or confess that you were saved before you were baptized? If so, your baptism was wrong. Immersion in water is “for the remission of sins” and into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).

It has the wrong order. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)  And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Romans 10:17 (NIV)  Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Mark 16:16 (NIV)  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 2:38 (NIV)  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

These verses establish the sequence of events in conversion to be hearing, faith, repentance, confession, immersion, forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Sectarians confuse this order. They state the sequence like this: Gift of the Holy Spirit, repentance, faith, salvation, and then baptism.

It has the wrong allegiance. Sectarian baptism binds one to wear a human name, obey and endorse a human creed, belong to a human organization, and to support a human program; while scriptural baptism binds one to wear a divine name, obey a divine message, belong to a divine body, and to engage in a divinely authorized program. Denominational baptism attracts people to a denominational body rather than to Christ and His Kingdom.

Matthew 16:18-19 (NIV) Mt 18 (NIV)  And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

(1) One cannot be taught wrong and baptized right (Rom. 10:17; 6:17).

(2) One cannot be baptized wrong and worship right (Rom. 6:3-4; Acts 2:42).

(3) One cannot worship wrong and live right (John 4:23-24).

(4) One cannot live wrong and die right (Matt. 25:31-41).

(5) Therefore, one cannot be baptized wrong and die right.

Have you submitted to scriptural baptism? Do not make the error of interpreting what you did years ago in the light of what you now know the Bible to teach.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2019 in Baptism

 

Beliefs Matter: One Baptism  Ephesians 4:4-5; Galatians 1:6-9; 3:26-28


Ever made a bad first impression? Have you ever felt like you’ve messed it up enough that you wish you could start all over? That’s one way of describing what baptism is all about, a new beginning, a brand new life.

Ephesians 4:4-5: There is one body and one Spirit– just as you were called to one hope when you were called– {5} one Lord, one faith, one baptism; Belief Matters—Eph 4:7 beliefs that really matter, we’ve covered …today One Baptism

When speaking of the one Baptism Paul could not have had in mind the question or debate of where it was of pouring, or sprinkling, or immersion. Only immersion was practiced in the time of the apostles. The earliest case of sprinkling for baptism on record is that of Novation in 251 A. D., who was “baptized” upon his bed while sick by pouring a large quantity of water over him.

According to the historians, immersion was nearly the universal practice until the Middle Ages when the Roman Catholic church declared at the Council of Constance that immersion and sprinkling were of equal validity.

Paul was certainly not referring to Holy Spirit baptism as the one baptism that was the common experience of the church. Baptism in the Holy Spirit was an exceptional experience. On the day of Pentecost, the apostles were baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5; 2:4). About ten years later, at the house of Cornelius, Peter saw the Holy Spirit fall of Cornelius and his household.

In telling about this, Peter said that the Holy Spirit fell on them, “as at the beginning. Then remembered the word of the Lord how that he had said, John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 11:15-16).

These are the only cases of Holy Spirit baptism recorded in the Bible. The experiences of those who claim to have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit in modern times are so contradictory that no confidence can be placed in them. If there is only one baptism, surely there ought not be any disagreement as to how it is to be performed, or in what it is done.

(Acts 2:38-39 NIV)  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. {39} The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

The difficulty comes in the simple definition —  or redefining – of the word eis. Is it saying that baptism is to receive the forgiveness of sins or baptism is because my sins have  already been forgiven? To say the same thing in another way: is baptism necessary in order to have your sins forgiven?

If the word eis in Acts 2:38 means their sins were already forgiven before baptism, it has to be interpreted the same way in Matthew 26:28: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Does anyone here believe that forgiveness of sins was possible for the masses BEFORE the death and the “shedding of blood” by Jesus?

The One Baptism is an immersion in water of a person who understands and believes the good news about Jesus and who is willing to follow Jesus as his One Lord.

  1. Is an immersion – Word means immerse or dip (ship sinking, man drowning), parallel w/ DBR; some vv. refer to “much water” or “going down into the water” and indicate that immersion is what was going on (Matt. 3:16; John 3:23; Acts 8:38-39). Some may wonder if sprinkling is okay. Wrong Q—don’t need to be trying to figure out whether what we may have done is good enough but figuring out what God wants.
  2. Understands & believes the good news— (vv. Acts 2:24-38; Col. 2:11-12) not a ritual, must be understanding & faith, not for babies or others who don’t understand or believe.
  3. Willing to follow Jesus as their one lord—(vv. Acts 2:36, 41) not magical & not the end of the journey, rather the beginning.

The purpose and meaning of baptism is broad:

  • It is associated with being a part of the church, being clothed with Christ, repentance, death, the Holy Spirit
  • It is associated w/ forgiveness of sins and salvation. I believe a proper understanding of it fits with the clear biblical teaching that we are saved by grace through faith. The best simple way I know to say it is that baptism is one of the responses to God’s grace in order to be forgiven and saved.
  1. Salvation is by grace (Eph. 2:8-9). Grace is the basis for salvation, no way we can save ourselves. When we get baptized, we are not saving ourselves (but cf. Acts 2:40-41).
  2. Baptism is a response to grace. Grace is primary; grace is the basis; baptism is a response to it. Without the grace, baptism would be meaningless.
  3. Baptism is not a work (Titus 3:4-5). Rather, it is a response to Christ’s work.
  4. Baptism is a matter of faith (Gal. 3:26-27; Col. 2:11-12).
  5. Baptism is one of several responses to God’s grace (faith, repentance, confession).
  6. Baptism is a necessary response (vv. Acts 2:38; 22:16; I Pet. 3:21; John 3:3-5).
  7. Baptism is the beginning point for new life (Rom. 6:4), I don’t know of any other point in time that the NT says we die to our old life.

Every “religious group” teaches some response to God’s grace is necessary for salvation, to believe in Jesus or accept Jesus or pray to Jesus etc. The idea of responding to God’s grace is biblical (“those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace,” Rom. 5:17). I believe the NT teaches baptism is a part of receiving it, one of the necessary responses, in view of the clear statements that connect w/ salvation.

If you are familiar with “the sinner’s prayer” I encourage you to think carefully about that. I can’t find that in the Bible, Rev. 3:20 is talking to Christians.

People feel a need for a tangible beginning point, and baptism is that beginning point…a particular event at a particular point in time and an actual act which is deliberate and able to be witnessed. I believe the sinner’s prayer is a way of filling the void left when people remove baptism.

So baptism is an immersion in water of a person who understands and believes the good news about Jesus and who is willing to follow Jesus as his One Lord.

  • This is the One baptism shared by all God’s people. It holds us together as God’s people.
  • This is what we believe & teach at Parkway & something you need to do if you want to be a member of Parkway.
  • If you’re not quite there yet in your thinking, that’s okay. Our walk w/ God is a journey. But I encourage you to be thinking, praying, & studying about this.
  • It is a vital part. I’d love to talk with you about it if you wish. Or if you think I’m wrong about this, I’d be glad to dialog with you.

(Galatians 1:6-9 NIV)  I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– {7} which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. {8} But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! {9} As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

(Galatians 3:26-28 NIV)  You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, {27} for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. {28} There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Why is this so important? Because the religious world is good at giving “false confidence” in this area. We’ve got to spend some time today in Acts 19:1-5

Paul found some disciples who had been immersed in water: “in the right way” for the wrong reason. Why was it such a big deal? What was the recourse? How does it affect us today? 

Throughout this series of messages on Belief Matters we’ve been saying it’s not enough merely to understand what the Bible teachers or merely to concur with it. It needs to change our lives.

If we believe in the One Baptism, we’ll do two things: Get baptized, w/ understanding, w/ faith, w/ the intent to follow Jesus. If you haven’t done that, I urge you to do so. If it’s associated with being saved, it’s really, really important. Wouldn’t want you to do it just to do it; need to understand. Glad to discuss it with you further.  Live like you’ve been baptized (not “follow the rules”). Parallel <> baptism and death, burial, & resurrection of Jesus.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2018 in Baptism

 
 
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